Cathe â€“ New Hartford, NY
In the late fall of 2004, as I was trying to do the endless chopping that accompanies making a holiday dinner, I was having severe pain in my right hand. I had an adverse reaction to my Hepatitis B injections earlier in the year, and it had thrown me into a rheumatoid arthritis type of reaction. I had been seeing an area rheumatologist who had prescribed short term steroids, Methotrexate, and finally Enbrel injections to relieve the symptoms and try to prevent its exacerbation. All of these treatments left me severely nauseous and weak and without relief from the pain. It was impacting my ability to concentrate on my work and leaving me feeling hopeless. After developing hives following my Enbrel injections, I knew I needed to do something else or I would lose the use of my right hand.
When my husband, Bob suggested a year ago that I make an appointment to come in and talk to Joyce about acupuncture, I will admit I was highly skeptical that it would help me. As a nurse, I was certainly aware of the benefits of acupuncture for anesthesia and pain relief, but I had not found evidence that it would help me with rheumatoid arthritis. He was so desperate to find a solution that I agreed to â€œtry a few sessionsâ€.
I was immediately impressed with the thorough health history Joyce took and her pleasant comforting manner. She did tell me that acupuncture would not necessarily cure the RA, and that I should continue to be followed by my physician. She said that she could offer me pain relief and improved joint flexibility. After two sessions, I noticed a significant difference. I was no longer rubbing my hand in pain all day, the edema and discoloration were lessening and I no longer had that rubbery feeling that impacted my fine motor coordination. As the weekly treatments continued, I was no longer in pain and had returned to playing tennis, kayaking, keyboarding, and I could take blood pressures without pain.
Another unexpected benefit has been that my allergy symptoms and sinus infections have decreased significantly since I have been getting acupuncture treatments. Where I would have 6-8 sinus infections a year, I only had one in the year since Joyce began treating me and it was relatively mild in comparison.
I still do not fully understand how acupuncture works, but I will accept that the ancient Chinese practitioners knew what they were doing when they mapped out the acupuncture points.
I am grateful to my husband for convincing me to give acupuncture a try. I am especially grateful to Joyce for the gifts she brings to her practice. Her patience, excellent listening skills, her gentle manner, and her willingness to reach out to Western medical practitioners to find solutions for her clientsâ€™ ills are commendable.
(since the writing of this letter, Cathe has gone into remission for her rheumatoid arthritis!)